Tommy Ryan

From Stage Driver to RR Conductor

TOMMY RYAN was one of the original "Overland" boys, having driven on the first semiweekly mail route--the Butterfield line--which went into operation September, 1858, starting west from St. Louis. In 1861 he drove stock from the southern route across the country to the central route. He drove a long time in Kansas, on the eastern division of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express route, between Seneca and Guittard's station. In the fall of 1862 he was employed by the Overland Stage Line to drive between Denver and Central City, on one of the most rugged and picturesque mountain stage roads in the Rookies.

In 1863 he drove in Colorado, from Junction, on the Bijou, at the east end of the toll-road cut-off, to Valley Station, 150 miles east of Denver, down the South Platte. He afterwards drove in the mountains to Bitter Creek and to Point of Rocks; later, from the head of Bitter creek to Sulphur Springs; still later he drove from Denver east to Living Springs, on the cut-off. Some time afterward he turned up in eastern Nebraska, still driving for Ben Holladay, but on a branch line on the Nebraska City and Fort Kearney road between Saltello and Beaver Crossing, thence from Nebraska City to Saltello.

In the summer of 1866, Ryan drove from Cheyenne southwest to Virginia Dale, the most famous "Home Station" on the route between Cheyenne and Denver. Later he turned up again at Nebraska City, having bid adieu to stage-driving, and engaged as brakeman for the Burlington & Missouri River road, where he worked for many years as conductor from Nebraska City to Lincoln.

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